Life is transparent in its message that ruin is the birthplace of transformation. Earth’s ever-changing seasons are a prime example of this. And, oftentimes, when one’s life appears to be falling apart – whether a health crisis, an unexpected job loss or a devastating breakup – a space is being created for the cultivation of something better. It is a wake-up call to divorce who you have been and become who you really are.
Five years ago, Erin Belle Sinard was in the throes of a transition she was unprepared for: the painful unraveling of a three-year romantic relationship. She was seeking a distraction of a divine nature – something to pluck her from a black hole of heartache.
One evening, while browsing Netflix, she stumbled upon the documentary Food Matters. And, as life promises to never take anything away from us without giving us something of value in return, Sinard’s need met an opportunity perfectly aligned to fill in: “It hit me like a ton of bricks.“
It has been said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears – and, in Sinard’s case, such was true. Class was officially in session. The residue of heartache was being chipped away as she allowed the undesired ending of a chapter in her life to become the birthplace of her metamorphosis. This made way for her subsequent chapters to be written with more awareness, joy and vibrant health.
Falling passionately in love with her new vegan lifestyle, she earned her certification as a Health Coach and has gifted countless individuals – in person and over the internet – with the knowledge to improve their lives as well.
Erin Debunks Common Myths About the Vegan Lifestyle
There are an immense number of misconceptions about veganism, and I scoured the Internet to find the most prevalent ones. Sinard is eager to debunk them
Myth #1 “Vegans are malnourished because they don’t get enough protein.”
Sinard: The funny thing is that – oftentimes – when someone meets a vegan, they suddenly become an expert on nutrition. I want to ask them, “I’m sorry; do you know how much protein you get?” People are obsessed with protein but don’t think twice about ingesting toxic chemicals.
Also, worrying about getting enough protein while eating normally is like worrying that you’re not getting enough oxygen while breathing. Protein is in everything. Unlike animal protein, however, plant-based protein sources contain healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Myth #2 “A vegan diet isn’t healthy long-term. Vegans don’t age well.”
Sinard: Please conduct a Google search on Mimi Kirk – the 73 year-old vegan who looks better than most women in their 40s. There is also the 78 year-old vegan body builder, Jim Morris. And, personally, I look better since becoming vegan. There are health benefits, but there are also vanity-related ones.
Myth #3 “A vegan diet during pregnancy is insufficient for a growing baby.”
Sinard: This myth is ridiculous! I am currently pregnant, and my doctor assures me that my baby and I are as healthy as can be. I have many vegan friends with healthy, happy vegan babies as well.
During pregnancy, it’s important to pay attention – more than ever – to the nutrients you’re getting as well as avoiding junk; not worrying about what dead animals you should eat. I don’t need to eat bacon to get folic acid.
Myth #4 “Dairy consumption is essential for proper dental health.”
Sinard: Dairy has nothing to do with dental health. Vitamins K, D and A are what make your smile strong, which you can certainly get from multiple sources. You can get calcium from fruits, greens and grains – not another animal’s baby food.
Q&A With Health Coach Erin Belle Sinard
Johnson: What has surprised you most since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
Sinard: For so long, I was somewhat of an angsty person. I’ve long struggled with anxiety, and used to get extremely frustrated with people while driving in traffic. Since becoming vegan, I have continuously been surprised by how this whole experience has made me a more caring person in general. I worry less and give people the benefit of the doubt more often.
I have also awoken to issues that affect us all on such a large scale. Realizing the impact we all have just by how we choose to eat has been a huge eye-opener for me. I feel like I am more conscious of how my behavior affects others – and the world in general.
Johnson: As a health coach, what has been the most shocking transformation you have witnessed among your clients?
Sinard: My former client Paul came to me with an advanced case of Lyme Disease. He also had stress at home and was having a hard time communicating. We worked on his communication and emotions first because I believe there is no point in focusing on food and exercise if you’re extremely unhappy. Once we overcame his emotional issues, we began tackling food.
Paul is now completely free of Lyme symptoms, and has transitioned to being 100 percent vegan (which I did not press; just led by example). He has seen tremendous progress in his energy levels, muscle gain and has reached his ideal body fat.
Johnson: Beyond applying the principles of a vegan lifestyle, what are some of the most effective diet and lifestyle practices you have experimented with?
The Blood Type Diet offers a breakdown of how different blood types are able to digest certain foods, based on the ancestry that made their particular blood type evolve. For example, blood types A and AB have three to five times less of the intestinal enzyme needed to digest meat.
Ayurveda is an Indian form of alternative medicine. It is based on three different types of individuals, also known as dosha. It helps determine what can be most healing for a person, as well as what can throw them off balance. This includes all forms of therapies including diet, aroma, exercise, colors, meditation, etc.
I believe these two methods often work well together. For example, I am blood type A+ and my dosha type is Vata. A suggestion for both of these types is to eat more warming, grounding foods (such as cooked sweet potatoes).
“Medical Care Isn’t Wellness. It’s Making Us Sick.”
Johnson: Give me an example of why you believe hyper-focus on medical care (while neglecting day-to-day wellness principles) is detrimental.
Sinard: When I was 19 years old, my mom almost died. She has chronic vertigo, and the doctor prescribed her a diuretic too strong for her body size. One night, she felt like she was going to have a heart attack. I rushed her to the ER where we learned her body was so depleted of potassium (from the diuretics) that she would’ve died in her sleep.
My mom hasn’t had a vertigo episode in over six years now, simply because she began paying attention to triggers: salt and caffeine. I don’t at all claim that medical doctors aren’t needed. If I hadn’t taken my mom to the ER that night she could’ve died, therefore I’m thankful for medical care.
But we must understand: Medicine doesn’t HEAL us. Modern medicine suggests that it is acceptable to treat our bodies like garbage, then take a pill and we’ll be fine. That way of thinking is actually killing us.
Johnson: What revelations have you experienced throughout this five-year journey? Also, what obstacles and temptations have you encountered (and overcome)?
Sinard: The obstacles that you face when changing your life for the better are surprising. People in your life often don’t want you to change. When you better yourself it makes people look inside themselves, and they don’t like that. You may realize that certain relationships and habits are unhealthy.
I used to eat pizza a few times a week, and even had a Tumblr account in honor of my love for it! I haven’t had cheese in years, though, and I’m not sitting around crying about it. There are vegan versions of everything, and the things I believe in are far more important to me than five minutes of palette pleasure.
Johnson: If you could offer The Wonder Report readers only one token of truth about the importance of their health, what would it be?
Sinard: I hate when people say, “ Live healthy but you’re still going to die anyway!” That is no reason to be a human garbage can. Inevitable death is no reason to contribute to mass destruction of the planet’s resources, to kill innocent creatures or to abuse one’s body – because you only get one.
Johnson: Tell readers, as though they were a close friend whom you love dearly, why you wish they would live more mindfully in regard to their health and eating habits.
Sinard: Dear friend, as a vegan, I know we sometimes come off as pushy or angry. The only reason we seem this way is because we are passionate about helping you understand that eating animals and consuming dairy are learned behaviors. We are the only animal that consumes another animal’s milk. It is accepted as a cultural norm, but is a choice.
The meat and dairy industry are killing our resources rapidly, and in turn, meat and dairy are making us all sick. I ask you to research it for yourself. Don’t turn away from the information just because it seems “out there” or makes you uncomfortable. Learn what we are so passionate about. Think about how odd it is that you can go from petting your dog with one hand and eating an animal with your other.
Finally, I ask you – with love – to understand: Health is your greatest resource; it’s the greatest gift you can give your loved ones. Taking care of yourself isn’t a selfish act. Treating yourself badly and eating toxic food is selfish. There are people who would love to see you live a longer and better life if given the chance.
Being healthy isn’t about avoiding death; it’s about being really alive while you’re here.